Editors note: South Georgia Today is delighted to introduce our readers to our newest contributor, Jimmy Allen. Each week, we will be sharing stories from Jimmy’s book, Keep on Pedaling. We hope you will enjoy Jimmy’s “homespun stories of hard work and easy play”.
The year is 1965. It is my first day of high school in Homerville. It is the place to be. The story begins in my fifth period Algebra class. Our teacher was Coach Robbins, who was also my football coach.
One day I got to class and took a seat near the back of the class. Right before the tardy bell rang, three senior girls came in. They were three of the prettiest girls I had seen in my life, and I was in class with them. Life is good.
I had first seen these girls at football games when I was in junior high school. They were stars at the games, even more than the players, because they were majorettes. Even when I was one of the kids running wild under the bleachers during the games, I had noticed them. I had never expected to meet them, much less to be in a class with them.
At this point I didn’t think things could get any better, but they did. Since I was almost late getting to class and they were too, the girls ended up sitting near me. Carmen sat at the desk next to me. Anna was in the next row, and Martha Jon was right behind me.
As I sat there, it was like being frozen in time. I thought about a movie named “10”, about the perfect girl, but I had a perfect 30 within a few feet of me. I was glued to my chair, and when Coach Robbins started talking about Algebra, I focused my thoughts on him and away from my situation, as much as I could.
The next day was a life changer, maybe for all of us. I was back in class surrounded by all that beauty and paying attention to Coach Robbins, when out of the blue, Carmen touched my shoulder. Wow, she touched me. Then I felt her breath on my neck and heard a soft whisper from her. She asked me if I understood this crap. That’s close to the word she used, anyway. My response was yes, I did. Am I digging myself a hole? Maybe!
Coach Robbins said he would give us a test each Friday, so Carmen’s plan was for me to slide to the left, so she could copy my paper. I would change a few I had from the right answer to the wrong one, so our test papers did not look alike. She would let Anna see her page, and then it would filter back to Martha Jon.
The plan worked for a year, and they all finished with A’s in Algebra. I can’t remember what I finished with, either an A or a B. My mission was to help them, not me. I had to make less for the team. One key point: By asking me to help them, Carmen motivated me to study Algebra and do my homework. In theory, I hoped to be ready for them to make 100 on each Friday test. Algebra was my love.
What is cool is that all three of these ladies were friends with me for a long time after high school, and all three ended up being great teachers. Yes, teachers. I guess I did my part to help make this a better world, one algebra problem at a time.